07/19/2012 4:19PM

Del Mar: Good effort in Osunitas could send Hard to Resist to Yellow Ribbon


DEL MAR, Calif. – Hard to Resist ran so well on turf at Del Mar in 2011 that an attempt to repeat the performance has been a goal this summer.

Trainer Peter Eurton could have started Hard to Resist in the Royal Heroine Stakes at Hollywood Park earlier this month but has opted for Saturday’s $85,000 Osunitas Stakes for fillies and mares on turf at Del Mar.

“She seems to run well fresh and she seems to love Del Mar,” Eurton said.

[Complete coverage of racing at Del Mar: News, PPs, and video]

Last September, on the final day of the Del Mar meeting, Hard to Resist won an optional claimer over 1 1/8 miles on turf by 2 1/4 lengths. A start in the Osunitas over 1 1/16 miles on turf could lead to a start in the $250,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes on Sept. 3, a race formerly known as the Palomar Handicap.

“Anything is possible,” Eurton said. “I hope she comes out of it as well as she’s going into it.”

The Osunitas will be Hard to Resist’s third start in a stakes this year. She was seventh in the Grade 2 Santa Ana Stakes at Santa Anita in March, a race run during a driving rainstorm.

She’s been very consistent [this year] other than one race when we had that torrential downpour,” Eurton said.

Hard to Resist is part of a field of 10 that includes Briecat, who was third in the Royal Heroine; Byrony, the sharp winner of an allowance race on July 1; and the speedy Halo Dolly, the winner of two minor stakes at Hollywood Park and Pleasanton in her last two starts.

Halo Dolly, who won the 2011 Solana Beach Handicap at Del Mar, will set the pace. She will have to hold off Hard to Resist and Byrony, who figure to be well-placed as stalkers. Byrony, a five-time winner in Europe, is unbeaten in two starts in allowance races since joining trainer John Sadler’s stable earlier this year.

“It’s time to step it up a bit,” Sadler said.